On Wednesday, February 5, the U.S. House Small Business Committee announced a full committee hearing called “Challenges and Benefits of Employee-owned Small Businesses,” which will take place on Wednesday, February 12 at 11:30am in the Small Business Committee hearing room, Rayburn 2360 in Washington, D.C.
The hearing is a followup on the 2018 passage of the bipartisan Main Street Employee Ownership Act. Motivated by the potential impact on the economy as waves of small business owners approach retirement age, Congress intended to ensure that the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the network of Small Business Development Centers across the nation were including conversions to cooperatively-owned and other employee-owned business structures, like Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), in their education and outreach to business owners on succession planning.
We have not yet seen the Small Business Administration follow through on the full scope of the Main Street Employee Ownership Act, and this hearing plays an important role in ensuring that this legislation is fulfilled. The USFWC has been working alongside our national partners to make sure that this historic, first-ever federal level bill featuring worker cooperatives is fulfilled and that it encourages the growth of worker ownership and democratic governance in the U.S.
This hearing signals the dedication of Congress, particularly the House Small Business Committee, to the cooperative community and our concerns about SBA’s lack of support for cooperative businesses.
How you can support:
- We encourage cooperators and allies to the worker co-op movement that are located in the Washington, D.C. area to attend the hearing on February 12. Please email email@example.com to let us know if you are able to attend.
- Not in the Washington D.C. Area? Watch the livestream of the hearing here on Wednesday, February 12, at 11:30am ET.
- Check to see if your representative is a member of the House Small Business Committee. If so, it is helpful for you to send a letter of support for worker cooperatives and the Main Street Employee Ownership Act. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for help in creating your letter.
- Join the USFWC’s Policy and Advocacy member council to plug into this work and to get the latest news on federal, state, and local policy efforts
- Invite your representative to join the Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus, which provides a opportunity for greater visibility of cooperative economic impact before Congress and the Administration and driving a co-op-friendly legislative agenda.